Sunday, April 15, 2012

Seneca Road

At my wife's behest, I've decided to give this blog another go. The hope, is that by recording my rides, what I see, how I feel, it may serve as some catharsis and actually motivate me to ride a little bit more. So far this spring, my riding has been sporadic at best, and my weight has reflected that. 184 pounds this morning. That's about 15-20 pounds overweight, but still 5-10 lighter than a few months ago. Uggghh.

I reviewed my training log (ha, can I call it that?) before I headed off for a ride on Saturday. I realized that the longest ride I've done this year was 44 miles. With only 3 rides over 40 miles. Pretty sad, really. So, I decided I was going to put some miles into my legs. My fitness always seems to respond best when I can get some serious mileage in, as opposed to short 20 mile rides post-work.

I decided to head out MacArthur (really, where else is there to ride in D.C.?) pass through Potomac, and then head West to Seneca Rd. before looping my way back. An hour in I felt awful and decided I'd snack on a Cliff bar. I powered through it, and almost instantly started feeling better. I purposefully tried to take it easy. The entire ride my heart rate never got above 185 bpm. Since I was feeling so good, I decided to head to Hains point on my way back, and put in 3 additional laps. I was one lap too ambitious. At that point I was feeling pretty tired, but thought I was ok. I'd had one other gel after the Cliff bar, and was rolling along the flats at about 18-20 mph. At the start of the third lap, I completely bonked. I'm always amazed at how quickly things can go downhill when you run out of food. The last lap I was struggling to hold 17 mph, with a decent tailwind. On the way home on the bike path, I could barely hold 15 mph. It was pretty pitiful, but funny looking back on it. I finished up with 71 miles at an average speed of 18.2 mph.

In my training log, aside from tracking mileage, etc. I also like to track a parameter developed by a friend, Jared Nelson, from my undergrad days. It's actually a pretty ingenious measure of fitness. The idea is compute your aerobic efficiency by calculating the average number of heart beats per mile. It works pretty well, and doesn't vary much by ride since there's a pretty linear relation between speed, and heart rate, until you your anaerobic threshold. Things like riding in a group, or doing a bunch of anaerobic intervals will skew things some, but by tracking it for daily individual rides, it gives a pretty good measure of fitness. To calculate it, you just take your average heart rate for the entire ride (beats/min), multiply it by 60 (min/hr), and then divide by average speed (miles/hour) to get units of beats/mile. Once I start getting in decent shape, my aerobic efficiency drops below 500. Needless to say, I have yet to get there this year. My ride on Saturday was 530 beats/mile.

One other side note; Potomac, MD has got to be one of the yuppiest areas around. I can still remember the first time I saw a Ferrari. I was about 12 years old, playing at the end of our Cul-de-sac with Billy and my brother, and one drove by on 48th ave. We were all blown away, and thought it was the coolest thing ever. In my first 18 years growing up in Crackima (err, I mean Yakima), WA I probably saw 2-3 Ferrari's. As I was cruising through Potomac on my way out to Seneca Rd, I heard the distinctive growl, and one came rolling by me. 5 miles later, another. At this point I was thinking "really, 2 Ferrari's in a one day, and withing 15-20 minutes of each other?". Well, about 45 minutes later on my way back through Potomac on my way home, yep, another one. Three Ferrari's in one day, all within about a 10 mile radius of each other. I think some people must have too much money. But, then again, I don't know that it's any different than the old, hugely-overweight lawyers out doing laps at Hains point on their $10,000 dream machines. It's funny. Back in Lafayette, my Cervelo S2 would have been one of the nicest bikes around. Here, it's pretty run-of-the-mill, if not low end. Kind of sad, really.